Black History Month Profile: Frederick McKinley Jones

Feb 11, 2021, 15:51 PM by Dawn Foods
Black History Month_Frederick Mckinley Jones

A pioneering inventor, Frederick McKinley Jones is best known for portable refrigeration devices. Although he did not attend high school, he was self-educated and had a knack for both machines and mechanical devices. He served in World War I where he often repaired an array of equipment and taught himself electronics.

After the war, Jones worked for Cinema Supplies, Inc. aiding in sound equipment improvement. During this time, he was also tasked by Cinema Supplies Inc. owner, Joseph Numero to build a refrigeration device for trucks. By 1940 Jones had patented a refrigeration system for trucks that would allow for the transportation of perishable products without spoiling. After the success of the refrigeration device, Jones went into business with Numero, opening a refrigeration company.

Jones’ refrigeration units were later utilized not only on trucks, but also boats, boxcars, and planes. During World War II, refrigeration units made food more accessible and allowed for shipments of perishable foods to troops overseas and allowed for the shipments of blood transfusions and medications that required refrigeration to save lives.

Jones’ trailblazing invention made a global impact as it allowed for international trade while also creating a world-wide food market. At the time of his death in 1961, he held more than 60 patents, was elected to the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers, and he was the first African American to earn a National Medal of Technology.

Dawn Foods and the baking industry benefit daily from Jones’ invention. From inbound loads of refrigerated ingredients such as butter and eggs to manufacture products, to customer shipments of temperature-controlled items such as buttercreams, icings and fondants, we can sustain our supply chain and deliver quality service and products to our customers because of his refrigeration innovations.